GORDON, Charles G. Three autograph letters signed ("C. G. Gordon") to Sir Samuel Baker, Bohr, 29 January 1875, Cape Town, 13 May 1882, and Cape Colony, 2 October 1882. Together 10 pages, 4tos, the first letter slightly foxed and frayed at edges.
"I AM NOT A COLONIST": GORDON ATTACKS BAKER FOR DISLOYALTY AND VOICES SUPPORT FOR AFRICAN NATIONALISM
Writing from South Africa, Gordon dissents strongly from two published pieces by Baker, rejecting what he deems imperialist arrogance. The first, Baker's book Ismailia, in which he attacked the Khedive: "I cannot think it a fair thing," Gordon writes, "for an officer to enter the service of a Foreign Power and afterwards to expose all that Foreign Powers weaknesses & blots. This is the second time I am [in] such a position and never will I expose the troubles and shortcomings of the nation who feed me however badly it may do it..." In 1882, Baker's article in The Times on the nationalist movement in Mauritius prompts Gordon to write: "Whether this actual phase is spurious or not, it is something to see life in any people, and from my Soudan Experience I think the people are being by degrees aroused to stick up against the circassian oppression. I know I worked harder to encourage a spirit of independence in the people than I did at any other thing..." In a third letter, this one from October 1882, he tells Baker of his frustration with the government in the Cape Colony. "I am just on my return from Basutoland. They are a fine people, the best blacks I have ever seen....I wanted semi independence given Bsuto, so I left, and do not know what will happen..." Disgusted by weak British leaders, and corrupt officers, Gordon says, "I have enough of it, only I do not like to desert the Ministry. What I say is, 'the bad Administration of your province produces war with natives, remedy this defect & you will have no war.' The Govt. shilly shallies, and does nothing, so I say, 'It is not fair to expect me to fight people whom you drive into rebellion, for I am not a colonist.'" Together three items. (3)